Polish coal mine expansion raises local fears


Polish state-owned PGG, the European Union's biggest producer of thermal coal, said it plans to sink a new mine in the Polish town of Imielin, but residents fear home damage and environmental pollution.

The Imielin North project, around 20 kilometres from Katowice where high level climate talks are underway, would cost at least 1.5 billion zloty ($400 million).

Residents mobilised earlier this year after learning of the coal mine expansion, and asked local authorities to help snub PGG's plans, but the development is still expected to move forward.

In the nearby residential area of Chelm Slaski, homes and cracked walls are evidence of coal mine expansions in the vicinity, with some saying that earthquakes were felt.

Around the town locals have put up signs saying "Save Imielin", but anger still boils amongst them with some saying that their cries are falling on deaf ears.

PGG expects the new mine to be completed in around five years' time and have a reserve base of 60 million tonnes, which locals said may also damage their environment and nearby water basins.

The residents said that they are not against coal as an energy resource, but believe the over expansion by companies is unnecessary, and worry for their homes which may not be ready for mine enlargement.

At the COP24 climate change talks Poland's president said that he would not allow anyone "to murder coal", outraging many of the thousands of delegates representing nearly 200 countries at the conference.

Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 International, Reuters